Jarrka (Goanna)

Jarrka is the Burarra word for a species of goanna (Varanus gouldii) which are associated with a site called Ngarla Ji-bama in East Central Arnhem Land. This place is associated with a complex of other sites including: M-bucha, Ji-gurremangunyja and Mu-garlmbarl. The Ancestral being, Jarrka, travelled a long way across Arnhem Land. Many different clans have custodianship over its design and songs associated with it. On the final stage of his journey, Jarrka travelled from Miwirnbi to the south before entering the ground at Ngarla Ji-bama. The depiction of Jarrka therefore implies the artist’s ceremonial and kinship affiliations to clan and country outside of his own clan estates and thus identifies himself and his own clan in the context of a regional kinship network.

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